Friday, 7 July 2006

Europride Parade

Well, The programme of festivities for Europride I posted a week or so ago, underwent(as these things are wont) quite a bit of changes.

The core of Pride, for me, is the parade. It is the important moment, where LGBT people take over the street and show that the exist and that they are probably not as scary as could be thought. The rest is mostly commercial profiteering. After doing my first ever Pride as a lonely walking drop in this sea of colours in 2001, here in London, I have ever since been stewarding at the Parade. An enjoyable and rewarding way to take part.

The best possible position to be given as a steward is, in my view, to walk along the floats which allows you to actually take part in the parade. This year, because it was Europride and many people were expected, the organisations with a float were asked to also provide their own team of (6) stewards.

The Southwark LGBT Network, of which I am the co-chair, were having a float sponsored by Southwark Council this year like the past two years. Throughout June, workshops were organised to get members of the community involved with the creation of the float and on Friday afternoon, I lent a hand with three others to put the float together. We were still there at 9.30pm.

The Southwark LGBT Network float in front of Big Ben - 01 July 2006

See more pictures of the float here and here.

The next day, as the Senior Wheel Steward for the float, I met up with my team of volunteers just before 10am and we signed up together. Then we joined the float and started to wait for the beginning of the parade, watching the crowds gathering slowly, particularly of course, the hunky men on display.

Since our float, was part of the first set, the parade went pretty fast for us and after 1.30 min we were amongst the first to sign off.

I have to say that the waiting had taken its toll though and after a very quick look at Trafalgar Square where the rally was taking place, I made my way to home to collapse, tend my mild sun burns and prepare for the next day at the Royal Albert Hall (more about this in an upcoming post).

Pictures of the Parade on flickr

Slightly was there too.

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